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CANNES: Weinstein Company Near Deal For ‘Wettest County’ While Distribs Fret Over Buying Pics Sight-Unseen

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: The Weinstein Company, already on a Cannes acquisition spree, has emerged as the clear frontrunner for  domestic distribution rights on The Wettest County in the World, after another all-night bargaining session between Harvey Weinstein’s acquisition team and CAA. I’m told a deal is very close. Considering how many distributors showed interest going into the weekend, it might  seem surprising that the Wettest County in the World has taken this long. Relativity Media had been the favorite all weekend since posting the highest bid, north of $5 million. I heard they got word from the producers last night that it wasn’t going to happen with them. I suspect what gave TWC the edge is its awards season experience, and a relationship that is growing between Harvey Weinstein and Megan Ellison, who financed the picture with Michael Benaroya. Ellison just sold to Weinstein world rights to the untitled Paul Thomas Anderson-directed film, which starts production next month with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix starring. I believe that The Wettest County in the World will get a platform release at year end, and open wide in early 2012.

The behind the scenes drama that has been going on all weekend illustrates the predicament for distributors on the Croisette who are trying to maintain some discipline in the closest thing to a sellers market that Cannes has seen in years. Buyers in this case wanted some control over a film that is done … Read More »

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CANNES: Forecast Strong For ‘The Wettest County In The World’

Mike Fleming

The project that has the Cannes buying crowd most hot and bothered at the moment is the John Hillcoat-directed The Wettest County in the World. Hillcoat, who directed The Road, here covers a band of Depression Era bootleggers in the South, with Shia La Beouf, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman and Mia Wasikowska starring. I’m told that Relativity Media has posted the high bid so far, just shy of $6 million. This might drag out, with The Weinstein Company, CBS Films, FilmDistrict hot and bothered, with Fox Searchlight and Focus also in the mix. Buyers read a script and watched a sizzle reel. It has been an interesting festival, with the appetite of the old days restored, with bidders having to test the new resolve to not overpay and to be disciplined. Pic’s being sold by CAA with Cassian Elwes involved on behalf of Michael Benaroya, who funded the pic with Megan Ellison.

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